Grilling ideas for the summer months

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - It's Memorial Day weekend - time for sunshine, swimming, grilling and camping. Although hot dogs and hamburgers are the usual staples of outdoor cooking, it is easy to mix it up with Foil Packet Dinners. It's important at mealtime to consume a variety of foods from all the food groups.

Using foil packets to grill or heat on a campfire is an easy way to ensure you and your family are eating a balanced meal and the clean-up is a snap. There is no need for plates; all you need is foil and a fork.

Your family can personalize their foil packs by choosing their own ingredients. Combine ground beef, rice, beans, peppers and cheese for a Southwestern meal, or tilapia and summertime vegetables for a fresh and light meal. Make a side by combining potatoes, vegetables and seasonings. Don't forget dessert; a sweet combination of diced pound cake, fruit, brown sugar, butter and cinnamon is sure to please everyone. Make your foil packs ahead of time, store them in the cooler and they will be ready to cook when you reach your destination. Here are some foil pack cooking tips:

• Use heavy-duty foil to help avoid rips. If you use regular foil, double up on the sheets. If your food is heavy and/or you plan to eat directly from the pack, it's a good idea to double up even on the heavy-duty sheets.
• Spray the side of the foil on which you're going to place the food with cooking spray before you add your ingredients and seal it up.
• When placing your ingredients on the sheet of foil, put the meat on the bottom as it takes the longest to cook.
• Cook your foil packet on the fire's coals, not in the fire itself. Ideally, you want to place the packet on a bed of coals about two inches thick.
• Hard, raw vegetables like carrots and potatoes take a long time to cook. If you don't want to wait, use the canned variety.
• When cooking meat, throw in some high-moisture veggies like tomatoes and onions. This will keep the meat from drying out.
• When it's finished cooking, open your foil packet carefully, as it's full of hot steam.
BBQ Chicken and Cheddar Foil Packet Dinner
Serves 4.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 37 minutes

All you need:
12 tablespoons barbecue sauce, divided
4 small boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (1 pound)
2 small unpeeled red potatoes, thinly sliced, divided
1 red or green bell pepper, seeded and sliced, divided
1 green onion, finely chopped, divided
Salt and black pepper, to taste
1 1/2 cups shredded reduced-fat Cheddar cheese, divided

All you do:
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit (if cooking in oven).
2. Place a 12-by-12-inch foil sheet, on a work surface. Spray with non-stick cooking spray.
3. Spoon 1-1/2 tablespoons barbecue sauce in the center of foil sheet. Place one chicken breast half over barbecue sauce, spread another 1-1/2 tablespoons of sauce over chicken. Top with a quarter of the potato, bell pepper and onion. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Fold foil in half to cover contents; make narrow folds along edges to seal. Repeat with remaining ingredients to assemble 3 more packets. Place packets on grill or over campfire for 30 to 35 minutes.
5. Open foil packets with scissors and carefully pull back edges (contents may be very hot). Sprinkle a quarter of the cheese over the top of each chicken breast half and return to grill or campfire, unsealed, for 2 minutes or until cheese is melted.